T+L Reports: Lyon, Barcelona, the Berkshires
The city of Lyons finally has a hotel to rival its gastronomic greatness. The 63-room Cour des Loges is composed of four Renaissance buildings in the Old City. Behind its look are leading French boutique hoteliers Jocelyne and Jean-Louis Sibuet, owners of the stylish La Bastide de Marie in Provence and Les Fermes de Marie in the Alps. For this venture, the couple injected modern design—skeletal metal lamps, awning-stripe fabrics—among loggias and timber ceilings that date to the 17th century. Cour des Loges, 2—8 Rue du Boeuf; 33-4/72-77-44-44, fax 33-4/72-40-93-61; doubles from $174.
Eating Up Spain
Hot Spanish interior designer Estrella Salieti is the force behind Tenorio Braseria, Barcelona's sleekest restaurant to date. It's mobbed with shoppers by day, politicians and models by night. Chef Jaume Turó gives a Catalan spin to fusion fare, in dishes like artichoke ravioli and cured Spanish ham with carbonara sauce. Tenorio Braseria, 37 Passeig de Gràcia; 34-932/720-592; dinner for two $33.
Country House, City Style
Visionary design in the Berkshires—no, that's not a mistake. Wheatleigh, a 19-room country-house hotel in Lenox, Massachusetts, was recently refashioned by New York architects Calvin Tsao and Zack McKown. Based on a Florentine palazzo, the mansion was built in 1893 by an industrialist as a wedding gift to his daughter. To arrive at Wheatleigh's evolved appearance, Tsao and McKown imagined that the house had remained in the family, with each generation having contributed to the décor—Chippendale chairs now coexist with resolutely modern upholstery. Wheatleigh, Hawthorne Rd., Lenox, Mass.; 413/637-0610; doubles from $365.
The redone spa at Dallas's Hotel Crescent Court uses ingredients that are more common at a cookout. You'll be coated with a tangy Pineapple Crunch scrub in the Texas Style Barbecue Experience, then wrapped in vitamin-rich tomato-honey barbecue sauce. What's next?Baked Bean Facials?Hotel Crescent Court, 400 Crescent Court; 214/871-3200.
Too bad the Breitling Emergency watch wasn't in one of those Cast Away FedEx boxes. Designed to be used in a crash by licensed pilots, the new survival tool calls international rescue squads into action. (Rumor has it Breit- ling will soon make the watch available to non-pilots, too.) Just pull a pin, and the timepiece emits a distress signal that can be detected 100 miles away. Tom Hanks would've been home in a snap (but what a boring movie!). 203/762-1180; from $3,500.
Remède's just-launched high-tech skin-care line adapts your own beauty products to any climate. Add a dollop of Lotionizer to liquefy creams in high humidity, or thicken them with Creme Converter (designed for cold or dry environments). Its Cleanser Converter can bring any soap to a rich lather, making even a scrub with the lowly bar in the airplane bathroom a mini-facial. 888/243-8825; from $27.
The latest brainchild of Banana Republic founders Mel and Patricia Ziegler is ZoZa, an active-clothing line that fuses function and fashion. Part Patagonia, part Prada, the men's and women's separates are lightweight and wrinkle-resistant. Hidden pockets hold cell phones; Zen sayings ("Happiness needs no cause") have been sewn into the inseams. The spring line's rain jackets, sheath dresses, and scuba-inspired pants are available on ZoZa's Web site. And unlike many catalogues, the company has a retail store in the Bay Area, where you can buy the clothes or place an order on an in-house computer. ZoZa, 475 Miller Ave., Mill Valley, Calif.; 415/383-2528; www.zoza.com.
Park It Here
L.A.'s hottest restaurateur, Sean MacPherson, has joined forces with Eric Goode, owner of New York's Bowery Bar, to create the Park, in New York's hip West Chelsea neighborhood. The former taxi garage now looks like an African safari camp. But it's not all scene and no cuisine, thanks to a fabulous Mediterranean-inspired menu. The Park, 118 10th Ave.; 212/352-3313; dinner for two $96.
Sea The Light In Stockholm
Stockholm's new Nordic Hotel has a split personality—it's divided into two themed buildings, so guests can choose between watery calm (Nordic Sea) and post-minimalist luminescence (Nordic Light). The maritime-inspired 367-room Nordic Sea has a 2,400-gallon aquarium and steel walls made from ship hulls. In the 175-room Nordic Light (reached via an underground walkway), sun-shaped projections guarantee a dose of energy even in Sweden's darkest winter months. Nordic Hotel, 4—7 Vasaplan; 800/337-4685 or 46-8/217-177; doubles from $217.
Looking for something to match your Gucci swimsuit, flip-flops, beach ball, snorkel set, and towel?Tom Ford has designed two new Gucci surfboards for the ultimate in stylish shredding. The red one is for beginners and intermediates ($2,400); the shorter, blue one is for any level ($2,100). Don't know how to ride the waves?It'll still look fabulous strapped to the top of your SUV. 800/234-8224 for information.
London For Less
At last, there's a good answer to that frequently asked question: Can you recommend an affordable hotel in London?Ten Manchester Street, built in 1919 as a nurses' residence, has been turned into a smart town-house hotel. On a quiet street in lively Marylebone—which hums with boutiques and cafés and is close to big-time shopping on Regent and Bond Streets—the hotel has 46 small rooms, all with an easy-to-take, contemporary but not trendy, design scheme. Ten Manchester Street, 44-207/486-6669, fax 44-207/224-0348; doubles from $217.
A Real Blind Date
At Blindekuh, an outrageous new Zürich restaurant, the lights aren't just dimmed—they're off. A blind pastor with a wacky bent on fun opened the place to give people an idea of what it's like to be sight-impaired. Patrons eat in the dark and must summon the toe-bell-wearing waiters to take a trip to the loo (the mostly blind staff is adept at sightless navigation). Blindekuh, 148 Mühlebachstrasse; 41-1/421-5050; dinner for two $70.
LA LA Land
Just when it seemed L.A. had hit the self-indulgence ceiling, two recently opened spas are raising the bar. At the Four Seasons Spa (300 S. Doheny Dr.; 310/786-2229), massage tables have DVD players below the face cradles to soothe guests with aquatic and rain-forest images. The Asian-themed Spa Mystique (2025 Ave. of the Stars; 310/277-2000), L.A.'s biggest spa yet, has a separate entrance built for celebrities.